Tim Roll-Pickering is a doctoral researcher at Queen Mary, University of London, looking at the management of parliamentary support during Neville Chamberlain's government. He also holds a degree in Propaganda but isn't as scary as that sounds. He lives by himself in Forest Gate.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I'd posting on Usenet and messageboards for years and also used to have a website with personal stories on it, so I guess it was natural. When I saw Jo and others had good blogs, I decided to join the club.
What is your best blogging experience?
Well it wasn't actually on the blog itself but it would have to be writing a couple of pieces for The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze. It was enjoyable to contribute to the book and see it published so quickly.
And your worst?
Now that's a tough one to answer. After a glance through old post, one that springs to mind was July 7th - I was posting at a time when the phones were jammed or down and it was almost the only way to get a message out quickly.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
It would have to be the piece I wrote as a tribute to Laura Blomeley. When extracts from it were quoted at her funeral (along with other tributes) I cried.
Jo Salmon's is one of the ones I read the most. Antonia's is another. Iain Dale's is perhaps too obvious an obvious choice. But generally I click on a number of the blogs on my list, some regularly, some random, or follow back the links from the blog stats. Oh and another favourite is not a million miles from this post.
But I also frequent several messageboards and seem to most of my online arguing there.
What inspired you to go into politics?
Good question - there wasn't really a moment on the Road to Damascas. I think it may have been when my sister was studying the subject for A-Level and so interest in the house rose. That was around the time where I was starting to think about what I believed in and I found myself mainly agreeing with the Conservatives. After that when studying the subject myself it seemed natural to support the party actively. It wasn't the best thing at first - at that age there's nothing worse than walking into the school the morning after a general election defeat for the party everyone knows you support.
How do you answer the charge that a no of Labour activists who have met you (inc myself) regard you as one of the nicest Conservatives they have met?
I'm not sure that's a charge! I've never really liked the way some people on all sides feel that politics should get in the way of personal relations.
Which was more rewarding and less fraught at the time. Christian Union politics or Student Union politics?
I was never actually in a Christian Union - I was a member of Christian Focus (formerly the Anglican Society) at Kent. That said I did make use of the newsgroups to counter some of the CU claims at times. But I don't think the two can be easily compared.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Hmm... Greece springs to mind first. Maybe that's because of all the classic literature on my shelf.
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Canada. I had a wonderful holiday on the west coast many years ago and would enjoy going back. There's just so much there - everything from the wilderness of the Yukon to the bustle of Vancouver.
Who, excluding the present leader, do you regard as the best Conservative Party leader, and if different, the best Prime Minister?
For leader, I'd have to say Stanley Baldwin. His party management and election successes, as well as his ability to defy the odds and bounce back are achievements rarely matched. And he also managed to keep the party very firmly down a moderate course at a time when conditions would have enhanced Siren calls to move to the Diehard right.
As for Prime Minister, hmm... It's so easy to cite Churchill but, well, "there was a war on." I'd probably have to plump for Baldwin again, for taking on and beating variously the General Strike and Edward VIII, as well as heading quite a radical (and often overlooked) and reforming government that at the time won plaudits in many fields.
Which political figure has been your greatest inspiration?
I would probably have to say John Major - not currently a popular choice I know! His commitment to a society where there is opportunity for all
Favourite Bond movie?
On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I've always preferred the Bond movies that are closest to Fleming.
Favorite Doctor Who?
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
I don't actually eat ice cream much, but if I have to then chocolate.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
This is where I admit to know nothing whatsoever about music.
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby,
Cambridge - I find it a far nicer place to visit.
Favourite national newspaper?
The only one I seem to read is Metro.
What would you say your hobbies were?
Quite mixed. Going for a good drink or meal with friends and discussing everything under the sun is one. Collecting history books is another. I enjoy good movies (though I tend to end up watching them mainly on DVD rather than at the cinema). At home I like to go for open air walks (I live almost next to Wanstead Flats, the extreme tip of Epping Forest), or relax with a good DVD or TV show. Online I seem to spend a lot of time on Wikipedia, currently going through the tedious task of categorising articles to do with UK universities, including every single alumnus I can spot.
And of course blogging.
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three
favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
Songs: Sunday Shining by Finley Quaye; Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand;
and for sentimental reasons Tragedy by Steps
Books: Nineteen Eighty-Four; The Great Gatsby; Argonautica